ScreenCrush Staff Picks for What to Watch the Weekend of March 3
If you can’t decide what to watch this weekend, ScreenCrush’s Staff Picks are here to help. They’re like the recommendations at an old video store, except you don’t have to put on pants or go outside to get them. Here are six things to watch this weekend:
In Kiki, filmmaker Sara Jordeno explores the youth-led community that’s emerged out of Harlem’s 1980s ball scene depicted in Jennie Livingston’s seminal 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning. A mixture of performance and activism, the Kiki community is both a means of expression and survival. The Sundance film follows the lives of the queer and trans people of color in the Kiki scene, including Twiggy Pucci Garcon, a house founder and LGBTQ homelessness activist, Gia Marie Love, a performer who transitioned over the course of the film’s production, and others who detail their coming out stories. Kiki isn’t just a welcomed addition to the queer film canon; at a time when 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, when the Trump administration is rescinding protections for trans youth, and in light of the seven trans women of color who have been murdered in 2017 alone, Jordeno’s documentary is the kind of empowering, inspirational work we need right now.
Hail to the guardians of the watchtowers of the north, The Craft is now on Netflix Instant! It doesn’t take a ’90s kid to appreciate the campy-greatness of this wonderfully witchy coming-of-age horror flick, but being born sometime after Mikhail Gorbachev took office would certainly help. (I’m just brushing up on my Russian history ... for reasons.) Robin Tunney stars as Sarah, the new girl at a Catholic school who falls in with a trio of witches and bolsters their powers with her own, helping them cast spells to rectify their insecurities and curse their enemies. With a cast that’s basically a mid-’90s teen dream team (Fairuza Balk! Skeet Ulrich!), The Craft is a highly entertaining karmic lesson wrapped up in a Miramax-era horror aesthetic that hits that post-grunge, pre-Hot Topic-in-every-mall sweet spot. Oh, and the soundtrack rules.
The Craft is now available on Netflix.
The animation looks pretty crude today (okay, it looked pretty crude when it first aired too), and its writing was never up to the standards of contemporaries like Batman: The Animated Series. But for children of the ’90s, X-Men: The Animated Series was a dream come true; an ongoing television series dedicated to what was, at the time, comics’ most popular franchise. Despite its visual limitations, X-Men featured everything that has made this concept endure for more than half a century: Epic adventure, the deep bonds between the team members, and a powerful metaphor about otherness and tolerance. The voice work was particularly good; to this day, the animated Wolverine (by Cathal J. Dodd) and Beast (by George Buza) are the ones I hear in my head when I read X-Men comics. If you see Logan this weekend and you’re looking for more X-Men stuff to binge, give this a try. Also, the opening credits (and that amazing theme music) still rule.
X-Men: The Animated Series is available on Hulu.
The Americans were practicing their Russian spycraft long before another Cold War flashed into headlines, but whether or not FX’s spy drama is the most topical show on TV, it remains one of its most vital. You’ve got just enough time to catch (or at least start) Season 4 on Amazon before the the two-year endgame kicks off with Season 5 on March 7, and nothing is certain for Philip and Elizabeth, Paige, or their FBI neighbors, especially when biological weapons, blabbermouth pastors, and broken glass are on the table. Plus ... how else are you going to get your Martha fix without going back to Zack Snyder?
The Americans Seasons 1-4 are streaming on Amazon Prime.
One of my greatest delights at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September was watching Sandra Oh and Anne Heche beat the snot out of each other in a stairwell during the standout sequence from Onur Turkel’s demented black comedy Catfight. The two extended fight scenes between the lead actresses dwarf the handsomely budgeted set pieces of blockbusters due to the genuine hatred you can feel seething through their gritted teeth. Between the no-mercy beatdowns, Turkel spins an equally pitiless satire of New York upper-crust pretensions, from the bougie art-society mommies right on up to the dead-on-the-inside financial types. It’s a riot, and watching two mortal enemies go at each other like wolverines is more cathartic than you’d think. (Plus, I met star Ariel Kavoussi at the movies a few months ago. Nice lady!)
Catfight is playing in select cities and on iTunes.
As a kid, the scariest parts of the bible weren’t the passage featuring demons and devils, but the ones where normal people have their faith tested. If you believed – I mean really believed – then how could you say no when asked to make the ultimate sacrifice? That’s why I’ve always admired Frailty, the 2001 directorial debut of the late Bill Paxton. Paxton’s career as an everyman was the perfect preparation for the project. While others might have been tempted to make Frailty a pulpy thriller about angels and demons, Paxton knew that the better story was the one focused on family, exploring the repercussions on a small Texas town when a man suddenly decides he’s been asked by God to murder demons in human form. With Paxton’s steady presence on both sides of the camera, Frailty becomes an exploration of belief and mental illness that makes it a nice companion piece to Jeff Nichols’ better known Take Shelter. No film does a better job of showing off everything that Paxton had to offer as both an actor and director. He will be missed.
Frailty is streaming on Netflix.